Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel

Pumpkin Cake

This single layer cake is the essence of fall. The brown butter gives it a subtle caramel depth, while the pepita-laden streusel adds salty balance. 

4.0 from 3 reviews
Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • Streusel:
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (71 grams) roasted salted pepitas
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • Cake:
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1⅔ cups (209 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) grated fresh nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
  • ½ cup whole milk
  1. For streusel: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook until butter turns a medium-brown color and has a nutty aroma, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pepitas, sugars, and salt. Drizzle with browned butter, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Crumble with your fingertips until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour, and line pan with parchment paper.
  4. For cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium-high speed until combined, 5 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, beating just until combined.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and ginger. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with streusel.
  6. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edge of cake to loosen sides. Invert onto a plate, and then invert again onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Using an entire 15 oz. can of pumpkin makes for a very moist, almost pumpkin-pie like cake. For a less decadent texture and tender crumb, use 1 cup (244 grams) of pumpkin instead of a 15 oz. canned pumpkin.




    • Hey Reena,

      Thank you for reaching out! yes, you can used fresh pumpkin as opposed to canned. the quantity will still be the same- so 15 ounces. Please let us know if you have further questions. Happy Baking!

  1. I baked this recipe. Be aware that the interior is meant to be like a pumpkin pie, while the outside looks like cake.. You will note that the center shimmies like a pumpkin pie when you remove it from the oven. It is delicious, but the streusel topping makes it difficult to determine when the dessert is completely baked in the center. Although mine baked 55 minutes and tested done, another five minutes might have kept the center from collapsing so dramatically..


    1. It might be a good idea to wait 15 minutes into the bake before adding the streusel. That way there will be no worries about the streusel overbrowning. while the center is cooking completely. It might also help keep the center from collapsing under the weight of the streusel.
    2. I was able to remove it from the pan after 10 minutes, but I noted at that time that the center was a bit underdone, when I removed the parchment from the bottom. It might be better to let the desert cool for 15 minutes in the pan..
    3. Once I had inverted it onto a plate, I turned it right side up onto another plate, since the center was so soft, and cooled that plate on a rack,. Given how the center collapsed as the dessert cooled, that probably prevented a mess.

    It is delicious, and the streusel is fantastic.

  2. I made this last year and agree a couple of more minutes might have set the center better. I also use a 9″ springform pan instead of a regular cake pan, so removal (keeping the topping in place was much easier. I plan to make it again this week to take to a dinner party. It is YUM!

  3. I tried making this cake a few days ago. The streusel was very tasty, and I loved how custardy the middle of the cake was. However, the whole thing was WAY TOO SWEET. I reduced the granulated sugar in the cake to 350 grams because I thought 400 seemed like a lot, but next time I would cut it back even to 200 grams. Everyone who tried it agreed that while it was tasty, the sugar level was overwhelming, and no one could eat more than a tiny sliver.

    I also recommend anyone who makes this to use a pan with at least 2″ sides as the cake and streusel were overflowing the sides of my regular 9″ cake pan. (Maybe the reduced sugar would bring the volume down enough?)

    In sum: I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t make it again without some serious modifications.

    • Hey Mariko,

      We’re sorry to hear the cake was too sweet for your liking. It is a very decadent cake, with a pumpkin pie-like interior that borders on custardy–a bit of a sweet splurge! However, when you reduce the sugar, please be aware texture will probably change as well. As to your note about using a tall-sided 9-inch cake pan, we completely agree. Baker’s also had success with using a 9 inch springform pan when baking this, so the sides did not bake over and it led to clean, easy removal. We hope you find success with some of our other recipes, as we have plenty recipes that have a less sweet profile, but plenty of delicious texture! Happy baking!

  4. This recipe has a much better bake time if you make them cupcake sized. Then you do not have to worry about inverting a cake with the crumb streusel topping. Delicious!


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